In twelve days time I will walk 33 miles from Horse Hill to Woodlarks with 11 other rogue bloggers to try to raise £40,000 for a charity that really needs that cash. So if you are yet to sponsor me please do so now HERE. Sagturday saw a training walk allowing me to explore the area around my new home, the Welsh Hovel, on the River Dee.
I started at the Hovel. It had been a cold morning so I had three layers on. And for once I did not take my rucksack so had no water with me, a schoolboy error.
The first half a mile or so was on the Welsh side of the Dee before crossing over a 13th century Bridge into England. It is on this bridge every morning and afternoon as I drop my son Joshus off at nursery (in England) or pick him up that he says “Goodbye Wales” and then a minute later “Hello England” or vice versa.
On the far side, I headed towards Chester keeping the Dee close to my left apart from in one place where there was a field full of bulls and I decided to take a rather long detour.
I walked through woods and fields on a path that seems, after a while, to be rarely used. I met few walkers and as I waded through nettles in some places I undersgtood why. Joshua would have loved the deep dark wood and would have started chattering about the Gruffalo. In one wood the smell of wild garlic was almost overpowering.
At about two and a half hours I saw a small village ahead and reckoned that I had done at least seven miles so turned and headed back the way I had come. By this time the sun was hot and I was sweating badly and feeling a tad dehydrated as my schoolboy error came back to haunt me. But my feet were fine and though a fourteen mile walk is no real test, that it was essentially so easy, is a good sign for what is to come. And the scenery was wonderful, the North really is not so grim after all.
I came home to the Welsh Hovel late last night to see cat Quincey sitting outside in the yard. In my absence the Mrs had, for a second time, let him escape his new home. after driving almost 400 miles in a day I let rip with a few choice words and then wasted an hour of my life coaxing the wretched cat back inside where I pounced and recaptured him. He has just rewarded me with another shit on the kitchen floor.
The other sight to greet me on my return was a fridge magnet bought by the Mrs at the insistance of Joshua who is very taken with the Welsh dragon we see every day as we walk back from his nursery in England, over the bridge and back into the rain sodden second world.
As you may remember, my daught Olaf is half Welsh and a fierce patriot. She will no doubt be delighted to see similar tendencies emerging in young Joshua after just three weeks in this welfare addicted land.
This weekend in Folkestone there was set to be a charity showing of the film Zulu to help raise cash for the arms forces charity SSAFA. Members of the charity voted to show the 1964 classic portrayal of the battle of Rorke’s Drift but, like cycling, they are clearly just racist. 28 virtue signalling busy bodies have written to the Council demanding that the showing be scrapped stating that:
“We believe that the choice of the film Zulu, with its inaccurate portrayal of historical events and its distortions and racist overtones, could have a negative effect on relationships within the changing and richly diverse communities here in Folkestone….
The so-called epic story of ‘honour courage and pride’ portrayed is far from the truth about what really happened.This film glorifies the myth that was created in 1879 after the humiliation of the British military de-feat at the battle of Isandlwana…
The Battle of Rorke’s Drift was, in reality, little more than a footnote after a far more important, and far more gory battle earlier in the day, 11 miles away at Isandlwana.”
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
There is another movie about Isandlwana where 4,000 British soldiers were wiped out by a 20,000 strong Zulu force. Made in 1979 Zulu Dawn is worth watching as well. In reality both battles are just part of the events of the Anglo Zulu wars of 1879. The first battle was a great defeat for Britain the second a bit of a triumph as 156 Brits held off 4,000 Zulus suffering a dozen casualties while the Zulus suffered almost a thousand. 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded after Rorke’s Drift.
The 1964 film Zulu references the earlier defeat at Isandlwana in full. It does have some poetic license. Most of the ordinary soldiers were from the Midlands not, as in the film, from South Wales. But in how the battle was fought, the evacuation of the hospital, the retreat to smaller and smaller redoubts and the characters involved it is fairly accurate.
The Anglo Zulu wars were not as the PC clots imagine a battle between black and white but between two empires. The British Empire in Africa brought railways, Christianity, farming on scale that ended famine, the rule of law and the end of slavery. The militaristic and authoritarian Zulu empire engaged in slavery, plunder and indeed genocide of smaller tribes.
When my PC Mrs or my Islington based daughter start to berate the evils of the British Empire, I cite the conquest of the Zulus as a clear example of a way in which the British made the world a better place. Our empire had its faults but it was a far more pleasant one in the way it treated the various non Zulu tribes of Africa than was the Zulu empire. Indeed after we British won the Anglo Zulu wars the Zulu people themselves were able to enjoy a peaceful existence under British oversight which they had been denied in the decades of aggressive military expansion that had proceeded our arrival.
If schools in Britain today taught history in its full context rather than simply lecturing our kids about our “shameful” Imperial past, no one would be terming the 1964 classic as having racist overtones. But they don’t. This time common sense has prevailed and the showing is going ahead. Almost 18,000 folks took part on a poll run by the local paper and just 7% think the film should be banned.
I wonder how many of those 7% have seen the film they want to ban or understand the context of a clash between two empires where the Brits were not actually the bad guys? I suspect very few. But times are a changing. How long I wonder before the 1964 Michael Caine classic will like most of the comedy from the 1970s be deemed offensive and removed from our screens entirely.
I seem to remember some humourless sheep shagger, a compatriot of my fiercely Nationalist daughter, threatening to report me to the Old Bill after I made some satirical remarks about his homeland. I guess he was too busy dreaming about burning down someones second home to actually get around to it.
Okay my jokes might not have been to everyone's taste but that is the point of comedy - you are allowed to say things which not everyone finds funny.
Move forward a few years and the columnist Rod Liddle delighted readers of the Sunday Times this weekend with a short piece on the Severn Bridge to Wales saying it was "linking their rain-sodden valleys with the First World"
Cue outrage. Hundreds of Welsh citizens said they were offended and duly reported Liddle for a hate crime. Arfon Jones, the Police Commissioner for North Wales, said he received many complaints and Liddle is now being investigated.
Do folks in the welfare addicted backwater have nothing better to do with their time? Probably not. But the Police surely do. Barely a day goes by without some officer taking time off from attending diversity awareness courses or painting his or her nails blue to show how they disapprove of slavery (don't we all?) to take to the airwaves to moan about how under-resourced they are to deal with real crimes.
The response to such moaning should be "Rod Liddle.. now fuck off and tackle some real crimes"
My late ex father in law Iwan was consistently damning about the Assembly, which governs the Wales he loved with such fervour. He was a man who had grafted away all his life as builder and developer, risking his capital and working bloody hard to make a decent living for his family and along the way paying vast amounts of tax.
In the Welsh Assembly he saw a bunch of wastrels even less talented than the poltroons at Westminster. But like the folks at Westminster almost no assembly members had ever been an entrepreneur or run a business, they were folks who has spent a lifetime sucking at the nipples of the state and so who felt no qualms about voting for more money to be spent knowing that folks like Ewan and myself would be picking up the tab.
And so we know discover that the Welsh Assembly is to consult 7-11 year olds on Brexit. Where to start? In 7 years time some of those might vote and then there views count right now they do not. We have a voting age for a reason. Moreover even if the thoughts of seven year old taffies on Brexit did matter, which they don't, what is the Welsh Assembly going to do about it? It has no say in the process of Brexit.
This is a totally pointless exercise which will cost money. No doubt those who have organised it also bleat on about austerity and the need to pay greedy doctors and greedy and lazy teachers even more. I suspect that had they spent even a short while risking their capital or working in the productive sector of the economy, seeing job cuts forced by economic downturn or by additional costs imposed by Government, they might think differently.
But that will not happen. The political class across all parties is now comprised of money tree believers.
My father has been watching the rugby like a hawk. Here in Greece I have been unable to watch but have kept in touch via the internet and calling my father after each game. Now this may not go down well with England supporters but in an Irish supporting family it was a perfect team as both our favourite teams won.
The "Old Country" defeated Wales. That has been a bad fixture for us for a while and in recent years my father and I have found ourselves exchanging the comment "at least that will make Olaf happy" after the final whistle. My daughter has a Welsh speaking mother, Big Nose, and is a strong nationalist. But this year we had no need for that consoling thought. Incidentally I loved this tweet from BBC Sport
Get Involved - There seems to be glowing sunshine in every part of the United Kingdom today, apart from Dublin. So where are you watching from? Send me your pictures on #bbcsixnations
You don't need to be a lifelong supporter of Irish Republicanism to see the flaw in that tweet but perhaps some basic history lessons might be helpful at the State funded fake news channel.
As for the other team whose victory we cheer? Our second team is, of course, anyone playing the Old Enemy. So there were cheers in both Shipston and Kalamata as Scotland put England to the sword. The win is all the more pleasant becuase of the pre-match swagger and arraogance olf the England team, manager and supporters. Pride, as they say,...
Next up for the men in Green it is Scotland in Dublin. Win that and the championship is almost in sight...
The spendfest demanded by the people of Wales, Ulster, Scotland and the North of England is paid for by the hard working folks of London and the South East. That might sound like a provocative and unpleasant jibe at the expense of idle celts and workshy Northerners as they roam the welfare safaris. But it just happens to be a statement of fact as you can see below.
The graph shows the budget deficit by region - how much is taken in tax and how much spent as a percentage of the size of the economy. As you can see, in the hard working South and East Anglia there is actually a budget surplus. But elsewhere the picture is really grim.
Oddly those in the biggest deficit regions demand more Government spending to tackle poverty. It is quite clear that what they need is less Government intervention and more raw capitalism. But that is not the zeitgeist in the Northern Welfare safaris or the Celtic fringes.
I guess, as an English taxpayer, I can stick with the North pro tem but there are large numbers of folks in Wales, Ulster and Scotland who blame the English for their woes, indeed often London and Southern England in particular. Such folk demand more not in a fraternal way based on solidarity but in a menacing way based on dislike. Watch a Question Tine in Wales and hear the rapturous applause when some low grade politician bleats about London and demands "a fair share" or more cash for Wales.
The graph below shows that when it comes to taxpayer handouts the Celts and Northerners get far more than their "fair share" but they will always want more until the English wake up and realise what a gravy train we have been funding and we get a vote on our independence, a decision which would make perfect sense.
But it will not happen and so the ungrateful and idle Welsh, Scots and Northerners will just carry on bleating in a post fact era manner.
PS In 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie's Scottish invasion of England reached Derby. Might the SNP not be persuaded to take back their former lands in the North of England as part of a newly independent Scotland?
I may be of distant Irish descent but I would scrap St Patrick's Day because it is an excuse for a bunch of idiots across the world with zero Irish links to get smashed and make complete fools of themselves. But it seems that I am missing the point. As the new twitter campaign shows we should end St Pat's Day because it encourages white racism.
Of course St Pat was himself an immigrant ( from Wales). What we celebrate is a Saints Day it is just that this Saint happens to be the Patron Saint of a country, Ireland..
And maybe whichever dipstick millennial dreamt up this nonsense has not noticed but you don't have to be white to be Irish. Black people have lived in Ireland since the 1500s. In modern times think Simon Zebo playing for Ireland today, Chris Hughton the soccer player or Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzie.
Pizza Hard Man Darren Atwater says this is obviously a fake campaign. It may be or it may not be. we live in a world where there are so many daft folks it is hard to tell what is satire and what is just plain stupidity these days.
My father was bracing himself all day and watched the rugby to the bitter end. Today he will be with the rest of Shipston's small Irish community in the Horseshoe drowning their sorrows and wishing Scotland the best of luck against the Old Enemy. I could not watch after half time such was my sense of foreboding and - to the delight of the Mrs - switched to watch a Miss Marple I had seen many times before. The Alzheimer's is still at bay, I knew the killer at once and even why he did it.
The only consolation is that my almost 16 year old daughter, known as Olaf, will be happy. She will have been watching with her Welsh speaking mother Big Nose in their Islington townhouse screaming obscenities for the whole match. That will by my conversation with Dad later on today: "At least Olaf will be happy, let's move on."
In years gone by I would have taken this defeat and a really mixed Six Nations really badly. After the Autumn Internationals I had quite high hopes for the Old Country this time. But as ever they have been dashed. But I am actually caring less and less.
The old 5 Nations and then the Six Nations was once a joyous tournament of marvellous simplicity. Pert of the joy was that quirk that Grand Slams and Triple Crowns mattered more than a Championship table which was somehow ignored. But professionalism and political correctness have changed all that. What is it with bonus points and the constant reminders from the BBC that the Women's six nations is equally important? I gather Ireland are the reigning Women's champions and the England match will decide that title for 2017 but the women are so much less good than the men, whatever the BBC might say, and I really don't care. But the BBC rams it down my throat: I must care.
The cynical cheating that runs throughout professional sport is now part of Rugby too. The constant rule changes left me struggling to keep up as a player but the pace of change now leaves me utterly confused. I just can't be bothered to care about the Six Nations that much these days. I no longer set my calendar around it and think of trips to Rome, Dublin or Cardiff.
Of course if Ireland were on track for a Grand Slam I would be happy. But would I really really care like I used to? Would I seek out other folks wearing Green shirts with whom to share the joy? It is, I fear, a hypothetical question for another year but the answer is, without doubt, No.
Nicola Sturgeon seems amazed that EU leaders are not lining up begging Scotland to join the Evil Empire as soon as possible. It has not dawned on her that, set to lose a major benefactor in form of the United Kingdom (in reality England plus the Celtic scroungers), the last thing it wants is to take back the welfare addicted nation of idlers that is Scotland. Heck the EU alread has the economic basket case that is the Real Greece why would it want the wannabee Greece of the North as well?
88% of Scots are net takers from the State. The entire Scottish political class seem to be born again Money Tree believers with no concept of Fiscal prudence because they know that since 1707 the ever grateful English have been picking up the tab for the whims and follies of those North of the border.
If Britain gets to leave the EU the initial saving is £350 million a week. Jettison the smelly socks as well and that number goes up sharply. It is a win win for us here in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is party time.
But why on earth does the poisonous midget from Edinburgh things that the EU wants to admit another mouth to feed, another nation stuffed with obese welfare junkies with a sense of entitlemnent? The EU deck already contains far too many cards of that nature, the last thing it wants is another in the form of Scotland.
It has emerged that Welsh first Minister, socialist Carwyn Jones, spent £9,500 of taxpayers dosh flying on a private plane so that he could see Wales play England at the European Championships on June 16. Ordinary Welsh fans flew Easyjet or went Eurostar but, as is always the way with socialists, some are more equal than others. Carwyn has offered a snivelling excuse but even that is a piss poor one which just does not stand up.
We are told that: “The First Minister flew from Cardiff to Lille to attend the Wales v England match before travelling to Glasgow later that day for a meeting with representatives from the British Irish Council. Following security advice, and for practical reasons, a small turbo-prop plane was used which ensured the First Minister was able to represent Wales at both events."
Honestly - there was specific security advice that the First Minister of Wales was being targetted? That beggars belief. And as for that vital meeting of the British Irish Council which Carwyn just had to attend...it was on the 17th, the day after the game which finished at 4 PM GMT. It would thus have been perfectly possible for Mr Jones to have used commercial airlines to get to Glasgow in time for the British Irish Council which took place the following day. The agenda for the 17th was an incredibly light one as you can see HERE, there was no reason at all why he personally had to pitch up any time before the morning of the 17 June.
But what does the truth matter for a good socialist like Carwyn Jones? As he tucked into his hand made cream puffs on his private flight he thought back to George Orwell's Animal Farm and murmured:
We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.
How true, how true thought Carwyn, the people of Wales will be delighted that i am at the football match.
As his limousine pulled towards the Stadium it mkoved quickly past thousands of Welsh fans who had been travelling by coach overnight from the valleys or had endured an easyjet flight earlier and who now trudged to the stadium. Carwyn thought about about his countrymen, his comrades from the valleys and looked forward to singing with them ahead of the game later. He may have had a reserved seat in the executive box next to Prince William but in essence he stood shoulder to shoulder with his coiuntrymen. Again a passage from Orwell's Animal Farm shot through his mind.
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equals than other".
How true, how true thought Carwyn as he thought backto the poached salmon with a red caviar dressing he had enjoyed on the flight out and prepared himself for the moment when he and those thousands of fellow Welshman, so proud and delighted that their leader stood amongst them, would dazzle the world with a rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
The BBC is creaming itself with "news" that almost three million of our fellow citizens have signed a petition calling for a re-run of the EU referendum. I am told this shows that the nation is having second thoughts. Really? It makes me think that many of us are incapable of sensible thought at all.
It seems apparent that many of the names are bogus but I am happy to accept that a couple of million of folks who are eligible to vote want us to have to vote again because we voted the "wrong way". But are these two million "having second thoughts?" One suspects that they were "remainers" before and are "remainers" now. Nothing has changed it is just that they refuse to accept the popular will.
In covering this sad episode the BBC interviewed one signatory, a middle class young lady who espoused that those voting for Brexit just did not understand what it meant. That is why we must vote again. And that is one argument put by posh middle class kids who have not seen their jobs destroyed by the EU as have the fishermen or suffered downward pressure on wages thanks to migration as have the working classes or seen pressure on health and state schooling as have folks in the Grim North. For the posh middle class kids it is simple: Brexit voters were thick. Or racist. Or both. So lets have a new vote and keep voting till they get it.
Others argue that not enough people voted. The petition says that you should not accept change unless 60% vote for it and 75% of all voters vote. So by this curious take on democracy where you can get to decide policy by winning just 40.1% of the vote one is guaranteed inertia on all matters. Such a distorted poisonous version of democracy would have allowed recidivists in Parliament to delay abolishing the death penalty, decriminalising homosexuality and keeping Britain illiberal for longer in so many unpleasant ways. Is inertia always so cool young folks?
As for the 75% turnout, the referendum say the highest turnout in any national contest (on an old electoral roll since 1992 and more votes cast than in any national contest ever. If that is not democratic nothing is.
The reality is that had the vote been to Remain by even one vote on a turnout of just 30% this petition would not have started. It is nothing more than a long list of names which are either bogus or are of millions of folks who are elitist patronising snobs who simply cannot accept what democracy means.
It is a roll call of shame.
PS. I am now off to start a petition saying that own goals scored by Northern Ireland should not count and therefor post match we can change the rules and force a re-run of the Wales game on Thursday. can the three million sign up quickly surely you know that it makes sense?
Prompted by a nasty tweet from Wales from a chap who spits out the words public schoolboy with invective in the same sentence as the word immigrant, this podcast is a follow up to the Cadwalladr article at the weekend. I had childhood & university privilege (public school & Oxford). But so too did folks who went to top comprehensives and Oxford, something some folks are in denial about. And that catchment area based selection is why abolishing public schools would still allow richer folks to buy a head start for their kids.
Via twitter I come across a couple of articles by lefty Guardian and Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr slating the posh and the way that privileged Oxbridge types dominate the media and politics. Carole is good enough to admit that she went to Oxford (a year below me and at the same college, as it happens) but insists that she is not part of the elite as she went to a state school - Radyr in South Wales.
Naturally, we posh twits who went to public school are now expected to listen to every word Carole writes on the matter of privilege because she has worked her way up from the grinding poverty of living in an abandoned coal mine with her 15 brothers and sisters eating rats. Heck, as she proudly boasts, she went to a Compy after all. Except that there are comprehensives and there are comprehensives.
Radyr seems to be in well heeled catchment area in Cardiff. It has far fewer ethnic minority pupils than other schools in an overwhelmingly white City. Fewer than 7% of its pupils are entitled to free school meals which is way down on local and national averages. 63% of its students get at least one offer to a Russell Group University and its results at all ages and all subjects are streets ahead of Welsh and City averages. Last year the school;s dry skiing team won the Welsh championships and I am delighted to see that two of its fencers represented Wales.
Radyr pupils clearly don't slum it and that tallies well with my recollection of a younger Carole who was obviously pretty middle class. So a middle class girl went to a top of the range State school while I went to a minor public school where there were no opportunities to ski or fence. And we both ended up at Oxford. We both enjoyed a privileged start in life but only one of us is prepared to admit it.
Luckily, since nearly everyone else writing at the Guardian went to public schools and feels really guilty about it, they probably think that all Comprehensives are, hopeless failing institutions attended by the offspring of an oppressed underclass, perennially persecuted by wicked Tories like Maggie Thatcher. And thus Carole is able to play the "under-privileged working class background card" without any of her colleagues realising how utterly bogus it is.
The BBC News at Ten coverage of the elections to the costly waste of space that is the Welsh assembly is focussing on the economy. The big issue is apparently Steel and which party is going to spunk the most cash on part nationalising and subsidising an industry that will never ever make a cent in profit. But the BBC says there is an alternative view in the principality. Hooray. I look forward to Huw Edwards interviewing a real capitalist...but this is Wales.
The alternative view comes from some drippy young "entrepreneurs" who work in a tech incubator called the Furnace. Natch they support the Steel workers but they want the Government not to spunk all its cash on Port Talbot but also to spunk some of its cash on them, on new industries becuase they are the future.
But are they the future? All the evidence is that Government is the worst picker of stocks, the worst allocator of scarce resource when it comes to business. In successful economies people get off their backside's. They start businesses. They create jobs. Individuals do all of that. But among just over three million sheep shaggers it seems that no-one can be found who does not think that folks cant do any of this without the Government handing out some cash, picked from the ever bountiful money tree.
Wales will remain a post industrial shit hole mired in poverty if the zeitgeist remains one of dependency. Wales appears to be a nation where almost everyone believes that the State must do everything for its folks, wiping their arses from cradle to grave.
The poisonous midget who leads the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon told her party faithful the other day that she was going to organise another referendum on independence come what may. It is no surprise that the midget is so keen on the EU given how she buys into its idea of democracy: the people can vote however they wish in referenda and they will keep voting until they vote the "right" way.
Of course independence would be economic suicide for Scotland. At $100 oil it was spending more than it would have received in tax. 89% of Scots are net takers from the State and the nation is almost united in its belief in money tree economics.
Despite all this spending Scotland gets poorer as the public sector squeezes out the wealth creating sector, and sicker - life expectancy in Glaswegian men is now - at 57 - lower than anywhere else in the EU, indeed in the Eurovision zone which includes Ukraine with its civil war and its Chernobyl legacy.
As an independent nation, Scotland would be the Greece of the North at $100 oil. At $40 oil it would be the Upper Volta of the North which perhaps explains why while Miss Sturgeon may wish to join the EU, the Evil Empire is not quite so keen on embracing the bottomless pit that would be an independent Scotland. But perhaps a deal could be done - independent Scotland could for instance be used to rehome 2 million Syrian refugees as a condition of its EU membership.
Heck I feel sorry for the Syrians. Living in a place where no-one speaks proper English, no-one works and life expectancy is falling fast amidst widespread poverty and violence and a regime losing grip on reality would be really grim. So maybe after a few weeks in Glasgow they would be begging to go back to Syria.
Despite the fact that it would be economic suicide, increasing numbers of Scots seem to want independence. We follow a familiar pattern which sees moaning heathens bleat "The Tories won the UK election but we voted for Money Tree worshippers here it is all so unfair, our poverty is all the fault of the English and Thatcher, we want more state aid, cry freedom, we sent Proud Edward's army home, Brits out, yadda yadda yadda."
This pattern of abuse of the English and blaming others for all their woes will continue ad infinitum so lets put an end to it with an English vote this June 23 "Do you want the Scots to fuck off so that you get to keep more of your money here in England?" Yes or No. Its all very simple.
Actually why bother with a vote just privatise Scotland. Sell it to the highest bidder. "You there the midget in the corner bidding £1 on behalf of the Scottish people, there are no higher offers, here you are, you own Scotland"
Lets make it easy Scotland can take none of the National Debt. It can start with a clean sheet. A few years imbibing the fruits of the money tree will see to that but then Scotland will have no-one to blame but the Scots. The English will see their debt to GDP ratio increase short term, but without Scotland sucking at the Treasury teet ad infinitum the deficit will be slashed at a stroke. Move "political" State projects like Faslane back to England and unemployment in the hard working South would be slashed.
What is not to like about this cunning plan?
As an added bonus, having jettisoned the bleating Scots we might then have a look at those other Celtic welfare safaris, Wales and Northern Ireland. Next time that the cocktail of semi-retired muderers, religious bigots and closet homosexuals that make up the Stormont Assembly demand more money to spunk on a pointless project, the English could simply say "shut up and behave yourself or you will go the way of Scotland". Pretty soon both celtic welfare safaris could be whipped into line with their budgets slashed. The era of bribes for good behaviour would be over, the era of austerity and self-reliance would be upon them.
It gets better by the day, can anyone explain the flaw in what I propose?
I have invited Getafix Stacey and his charming wife over for lunch. But have received three stern warnings from the druid.
First up he lives in remote West Wales, drinking at the Punter’s Return, seeking out the Money Tree and looking after “my precious” – his stash of Advanced Oncotherapy share certificates. Malcolm says that he and his Mrs sometimes go to Cardiff but he cannot bare to be away from his precious for too long so rarely heads further east. But he promises that he will make the trek over to Bristol soon.
Second I am warned that Malcolm’s Mrs is even more of a mad lefty than he is. I am used to a Mrs who is a mad lefty and that does not phase me. Maybe Getafix and I can leave the two of them discussing the evils of capitalism and head off to the Conservative Club for a few drinks.
Finally I am warned that neither Getafix nor Mrs Getafix eat meat. Or fish. Now that is a toughie. Veggie food can be terribly dull. I am thinking of a potato, olive and goats cheese pie (please tell me they eat cheese) with peperonata (a stew of peppers, tomatoes, garlic and a bit of chilli – Darina Allen recipe) on the side. Followed by apple crumble and a cheese selection? Can anyone think of anything more exciting?
I am not sure that I could place Fiji on a map of the world. I know sweet FA about the Country. But that does not really matter. Fiji is playing England at rugby tonight.
And thus like folks across Wales, Scotland and God’s chosen country of Ireland for tonight “I am a Fijian”. There are only two teams I support in this World Cup. Naturally my first team is Ireland. And my second? Whoever is playing the Old Enemy. Call it childish if you wish but it is in the blood. And across the Celtic lands nearly everyone feels the same way.
That I have to endure this match while in England is not pleasant. I suspect I shall watch at home since I fear an English win, but should Fiji be ahead with just a few minutes to go I shall rush up to the Conservative Club to relish the final moments with Englishmen in pain. That would be a double delight.
St George’s day used to be an almost forgotten festival on the days when at England soccer matches, folks waved the Union Flag. But for various reasons the past two decades have seen the rise of English nationalism. And in a sense I understand that.
Wales and, more especially, Scotland are grotesquely over-subsidized welfare safaris and it is the English taxpayer who picks up the tab. Of course societies based on welfare dependency rather than freedom and enterprise will not prosper and so the more the Celts mainline the subsidies the more they moan and bleat about the evil English. It is the English who are to blame for the relative poverty of the Celts, for addicts can never accept that their destiny lies in their own hands and so must blame others for failure.
Slowly the United Kingdom is being torn apart. As an economic Englishman I look forward to the day when Scotland and Wales are truly independent and would welcome them being towed off into the Atlantic and forgotten. I am just bored of working hard to subsidize those who resent me ever more for my generosity. And so in an economic sense I drape myself in the flag of St George.
But like St George himself I am not English. I have vague Irish ancestry and was brought up to think of myself as British or Anglo Irish rather than English. I am conscious that my wife’s parents were born in India and while the Mrs. regards herself as English but of Indian descent, some of those who are today draped in a red and white flag may well regard her as being not quite properly English. And it is that unpleasant side of Nationalism that I find disturbing and given that in my heart I celebrate St Patrick’s Day I am not always at my happiest on this day of the year.
As I see politicians, notably the loathsome Farage, ostentatiously celebrating this day I am reminded that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Pride in being English used to be an understated quiet awareness of all the great things about this country. I find the brash aggressive and not altogether inclusive nature of St George’s Day increasingly unattractive.
No party for myself and my Manx born cats tonight.
The great day of reckoning arrives and as I wander along the road towards the Pearly Gates I catch up with my father who with his stick and poorly knee has been making slow progress. We chat and before long we meet up with St Peter.
Inside heaven we can see that it is just like Donegal in the summer. Green, wild but stunning. There is Brian O’Driscoll chatting away amiably with Darina Allen who is cooking up an amazing supper for all. Seamus Heaney is reading poems to Michael Collins. It is a free land. But St Peter shakes his finger and says that my father and I have been found wanting. I think that it is a bit harsh on the Old Man but accept that I have sinned and St Peter ushers us down a little path with a sign marked Purgatory.
As we prepare to enter Purgatory we can hear from inside drunken fools baying about Chariots while other imbeciles belt out the greatest hits of Max Boyce. I feel a tap on the shoulder and it is St Peter. Fear not he says, suffering the unbearable crowing of both English and Welsh rugby supporters on the same day will not last long. You are only in purgatory for a short while. I smile. But then St Peter adds, it will just feel like eternity.
In the days of my youth the, then, five nations was about playing for a mythical triple crown or a mythical Grand Slam. Being the “Champions” did not come into it. And so for me this year’s event is really over. I hope that Ireland beats Scotland but I do not care about mathematical permutations as to who is Champion? The era of league tables is modern rugby, a business not a sport.
In my youth Ireland only ever competed seriously for the mythical wooden spoon. Occasionally at a windswept and rain sodden Lansdowne Road our grim pack of forwards would grind out a surprise win against somebody. Just now and again an Ollie Campbell or a Tony Ward would emerge and we might run in the odd try from the backs and allow ourselves to dream.
But Irish rugby has historically been about dreaming, about heroic failure and defeat. The modern era has been a bit of a shock to us all. And so 2015 will be forgotten quickly. We put the arrogant Old Enemy to the sword in Dublin which is always a good thing but in the end we waited 60 years for my father’s second Grand Slam and it is those sort of events that I count my rugby life by.
As to my daughter who has been brought up by her Welsh speaking mother Big Nose to become a total cottage burner, the post-match text was really not appreciated. Beating me at table football last week (being Welsh she cheated) was bad enough, but crowing about the rugby is really very poor form.
My dear daughter, I understand that you and your mother have a chip on your shoulder because you and your countrymen remain the colonial servants of the English and come from a nation of welfare-addicted dwarves who must blame their servility and poverty on everyone but themselves and are thus naturally bitterly jealous of a free and proud nation such as Ireland. I understand that the nation that regards as its cultural icons Shirley Bassie, Aled Jones, Max Boyce and Ruth Madoc from Hi Di Hi, naturally suffers a chronic inferiority complex when it thinks of the nation that produced Wilde, Joyce, Behan, Beckett, Heaney and of course Saint Bob Geldoff.
My dear daughter, and Big Nose, I know that as Islington based Welshies you have romantic notions of life back home but that your hearts must sink every time the train passes the Severn Bridge and you gaze out on estates of grim social housing, where the kids have no shoes, on deserted mines, steel works and on factories that lie empty. And that you wish that your vassal colonial outpost could boast the glories of the wild untamed mountains, fields and bogs of God’s chosen land.
But really, is this any way to treat your old Dad?
PS If that text was not from you I am sure that Big Nose was crowing anyway and I still have not come to terms with the table football.
My rugby thoughts this weekend are naturally focussed on matters in Dublin but the Six Nations kicks off tonight in Cardiff with a battle of two of the minor teams and there are four very good reason why I shall support the sheep shaggers as they do battle with the English.
1. My daughter, though only half Welsh. is turning into a card carrying cottage burner and it will give her great pleasure if Wales win. And that will make me happy.
2. One should always support our Celtic brethren against the old Enemy.
3. In fact one should always support absolutely anyone against the old Enemy.
4. Wales supporters are unbearable in victory but so too are English rugby supporters. Since I live in England I shall only have to suffer a modicum of online Welsh triumphalism should Wales win but will enjoy the mass displeasure of England supporters first hand. An English triumph reverses that equation and would thus be far less pleasurable for me.
The Mrs and I have put up our Christmas tree. It is a bit small but it is part of some environmentally friendly scheme here in Bristol which I cannot quite get my head around. But to humour the little woman I have played along with the green nonsense.
Anyhow here is the prize competition. To win a bottle of olive oil, made by my own fair hand, from the Greek Hovel all youhave to do is look at the decorations and name which countries they come from. For the avoidance of doubt I count England and Wales as seperate and the angel at the top was made by my daughter many years ago and she counts herself as Welsh. Your clues include that contributions come from four continents and I have bought all the decorations personally.
As I was leaving the Greek Hovel this morning at around 9.30 the gardeners arrived. Before Dan Levi tweets out abuse from the Manchester slums about how I am outsourcing hard work, let me explain.
I refer, of course, to the flock of sheep which have now spent two days grazing on the land. I now that snakes do not like sheep and I know that trimming the grass will reduce the habitat options for the local wildlife diversity. And so this was my cunning plan, all I needed was a shepherd to play ball and a translator and Foti did the business on Tuesday.
Sadly, I am told that sheep prefer luscious green grass and not my dry and brown offering and so the gardeners may not be coming that much more. Bloody hell. I prefer a delicately grilled fresh trout in a lemon sauce washed down with a chilled Burgundy white to Greek salad and a can of diet coke but there do not happen to be that any 4 * restaurants in the ‘hood. And for that matter I cannot see a blade of green grass anywhere near Kambos – the whole area is scorched and dry. How fussy can a sheep be?
It seems as if the grass cutting will be down to me. Foti has a machine and says he will teach me to use it. But he says that I must be careful of the snakes. He is a wily old goat, he knows how to yank my chain.
5 Euro an hour and Foti cuts the grass and meets the snakes or zero cost and I cut the grass and meet the snakes. Hmmmm, I shall sleep on it but apparently trade is brisk at Real Man and so I might duck out of this one. I am sure I can persuade myself that it is all about opportunity cost.
Anyhow, especially for Paul Roberts and my other readers from Wales, here are my gardeners.
The lies told in the Scottish Independence campaign are almost laughable and I start with a total whopper told by the SNP.
But having said that I regard Independence as great news for Scotland and Wales should go the same way. Only by being independent and learning to stand on their own two feet rather than mainlining subsidies and whinging will these nations thrive.
It would be good news for England too as I explain in this video.
My new Welsh friend Paul emails me before the Ireland match to say that he is rooting for Italy as part of some diabolical calculation allowing his beloved sheep-shaggers to win the Six nations Championship. Hmmmmm.
Despite a catalogue of errors Ireland utterly routed Italy yesterday. It was an emotional Dublin send off for Brian O’Driscoll, the greatest ever Ireland player. My father and I watched and as BOD was interviewed post match, the emotion poured over in Shipston-on-Stour as I am sure it did in every outpost of the diaspora. The way the points stack up, barring some utter freak, if Ireland can manage to defeat the hit or miss Froggies in Paris, the Championship is ours. Surely God wishes to reward his loyal servant BOD thus?
And now to Wales vs. England. For me there are no diabolical calculations. Indeed shame on you Paul for thinking that way. Paul says that he is so excited about today’s game that he cannot sleep. I would suggest that he tries counting sheep. But I guess that might make him even more excited. I digress.
I can put aside the fact that the mother of my daughter (Big Nose) will be sitting at home munching nuts nervously as she roots for Wales. I am beyond that for I also know that my daughter will be dressed in a Welsh jersey or National dress, belting out the National Anthem, passionately roaring on the men in red.
This is a simple matter. The Old Enemy are playing. Thus naturally my mind is wired to support the other side. I do not feel this way about soccer – in Ireland’s absence I will cheer for England in the World Cup for as long as its campaign lasts which will not be very long. I gather that England are 33-1 to win the World Cup. For those who do not understand betting that means that if you wager £10 on England you will lose £10.
No, this is just a rugby thing. I think of the swagger and arrogance of England sides before. I think of bloody Will Carling or Jeremy Guscott. I think of England fans singing “Swing Lo” as they assume they will always win. I think of a match at Lansdowne Road many years ago during the troubles when some pompous oaf behind my father and I brayed in a drunken slur “Oh I do wish the Irish would make a match of it.” I think of Sir Clive Woodward. My blood is boiling already. If the England Rugby Team was playing the Hamas XV I would naturally be rooting for the islamofascist nutters.
And Wales are our Celtic Cousins as well as the team supported by my daughter. Paul is starting to think like Sir Clive Woodward and should be ashamed. For him and for me the teams you support are:
1. Wales/Ireland 2. Anyone playing against England 3. Your Celtic Cousins (with Scotland ranked marginally below Wales & Ireland in the Celticness stakes). 4. The underdog (to assist with France vs Italy) - small nations should back the underdogs.
Follow that simple matrix and you know exactly who you will be cheering for in any six nations match. On that basis “C’mon Wales.”
My poor cats, they must be getting culturally confused. Tara & Oakley were born in the Isle of Man although like 99% of Manx Cats they have full tails. Rescued by me from the MSPCA they then came over to England with me but having to watch me heaping abuse on England whenever the rugby is on. So are we Irish daddy?
Of course on Sunday they will suffer extra confusion as this household stands shoulder to shoulder with our Celtic brothers in Wales. Come on the sheep shaggers please put the old enemy to the sword. Humiliate them!
But the confusion gets worse for in taking them to a new vet for their booster jabs the Mrs made the appointment. Being a deluded lefty, the Mrs is not Mrs Winnifrith but has retained her own (Indian) surname. What say you? Political correctness gone mad?
As such the cats have come back with a form showing that they too now have an Indian surname. Born Manx, naturalised English, adopted Anglo Irish and now finally Indian. Such is the melting pot that is Britain today but it is understandable if Tara and Oakley are this morning feeling a little culturally confused.
Incidentally the vet said both cats were in great nick although Oakley (the one with three legs) was a little on the plump side and could do with a bit more exercise. Plus ca change on that front.
Whatever one things about the sheep shaggers, and as I explained in Friday I have mixed feelings, an evening match at the Millennium Stadium has a world beating atmosphere. It was a wonderful night. Wales played well, France were abject. I returned to Bristol rather worse for wear on the last train.
Worse was to come with Ireland against the Old Enemy. I really do loathe the swagger of English rugby with a passion. I loathed it when I wore the green jersey of London Irish and remembered the off the ball comments. I loathe the arrogance when they win. So losing a match that was incredibly tight really hurt. Had that England hand in the maul 3 minutes before the end been spotted it would have been a penalty and a draw. Such is life.
England can still win the Triple Crown if they defeat Wales. Needless to say I am 100% behind our Celtic cousins for that match. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my daughter on that one. The Championship is wide open. If Ireland continue to play as we have done and France are as abject as they were against Wales then BOD might get the send-off he merits. We have the points advantage going into the last two games and the Italy match should add to that. We shall see, it is all to play for.
If Ireland do not win then may it be Wales. Or France.
As to the soccer, another good win for West Ham. Yes one goal was offside but a 3.1 win was deserved. Now on 31 points we are not out of the woods yet and away at Everton next - can we nick a point?. Win that one and some daylight starts to appear between the Irons and the drop zone. As things stand it really looks like Fulham, Cardiff and one of the next nine to go down. You really cannot call it at this stage. But our fate is in our hands. Horseface is back from Suspension.
As an aside it was odd watching the QPR game in the Championship last night. I counted 5 West Ham old boys in the starting eleven. It is good to see that those Old Boys were as hapless for QPR as they were for us.
Naturally my sporting thoughts this weekend will be in London. Can West Ham, in our last game before the return of Horseface, defeat Southampton at Upton Park to go into the top half of the table? More importantly can Ireland defeat the Old Enemy at Twickenham to lift the Triple Crown. Oh Lord, as I prepare for sleep tinight I pray of you that you may give your faithful servant BOD this one last triumph. As a merciful, fair and kind Lord I know that you cannot be an England supporter, so how about it?
But a nice man from North Wales has just offered me a ticket to see the Sheep Shaggers take on the Froggies in Cardiff on Friday night. It is but a short trip over from Bristol and so I have accepted. But who to support?
If I think of Big Nose, the Welsh speaking mother of my daughter Olivia and how insufferable she and her countrymen are when Wales win I am naturally inclined to support the Froggies. But then I chatted to Olivia tonight. For some reason she was not keen to discuss the Ireland game ( I cannot think why) but she says that she hopes Wales defeat the French and …it gets better…that what really matters is that Wales go on to beat England. That’s my girl!
And so for Olivia’s sake I am decided. I shall show solidarity with our Celtic Cousins. C’mon the sheep shaggers.
Last week I expressed my shock that Ireland and West Ham had both won on the same day and wondered when this happened last? You see, I am used to supporting sporting sides that are just not very good. Well blow me down Ireland and West Ham have now both put in back to back wins on the same day – when did that happen last?
For Ireland it was a home game against Wales. Such occasions usually prompt a post-match call between my father and myself “At least Olivia will be happy.” My daughter is like her mother (Big Nose) a proud Welshie. But not this time.
Ireland were ruthlessly efficient and made Wales (who are not hopeless) look just ordinary. The pack lead by Paul O’Connell was magnificent at the lineout, with the rolling maul and in all aspects of secondary play. The scrums were a bit of a mess but overall it was a powerful display. Throw in the kicking of Sexton and the tackling of the backs – and their strength under the high ball - and Ireland looked really good.
Next up is the Old Enemy at Twickenham. England also looked good yesterday but that was against a Scottish side that was truly dreadful. If you lose nearly all of your own lineouts and give away penalties you will never win rugby matches. As a hooker myself I have some sympathy when a lineout goes awry but Scotland’s was a shambles. It was not that England were just beating Scotland to the ball but that the ball was being thrown anywhere, almost at random. In my prime (London Irish, Wild Geese) I threw better than that. Notwithstanding how useless Scotland were, England are a good side so the next outing will be tough.
For West Ham, a 2 nil win away at Villa despite not having Andy Caroll available as he serves a ludicrous three match ban. Two goals from Kevin Nolan did the trick and by all accounts the best team won. We are out of the relegation zone but the bottom half of the table is still incredibly tight. In theory, a win against Norwich at Upton Park on Tuesday could see the mighty Hammers up to 10th. Yes I know we would need to win 4 nil but let me dream for a day.
What matters is the three points. Norwich at home is the sort of game we need to win because safety is still at least 4 wins and a draw away. Somehow there is confidence back in the side. Happy days.
To be honest I am a bit starved of ideas and the bird wants to head off for a romantic meal so the best that I can do on the caption front is to offer up a picture from earlier of a goat from Greece. Please post your wittiest captions in the comments section below.
For what it is worth my entry is:
The goat says “ Yes, I too know what Jim Ellerton’s said in the Gary Dillabaugh case and I have sold all my Sefton shares – that’s because I am a goat not a sheep.”
You can do better. Feel free to mention the Welsh or Bulletin Board Morons or whatever you want. If Jon Pickles is around mention Prince Harry if you care.
The deadline for entries is 9 AM Friday. Good luck.
Last week I asked you for captions to this picture, in the Lib Dem sleaze edition
The standard of entries was on a par with a Nick Clegg manifesto commitment – not worth thinking about. We shall draw a veil over that contest.
When I was a boy I tried to milk a cow. I think my mother ( who was heavily into self sufficiency) and I were on a commune in Wales. I really did not get the hang of it at all. So a goat? Heck why not give it a go. Meet the goat. As you can see, her leg is teathered and her mind is on food so maybe I'd have a chance?
This is Stavroula the mother of my partner's brother in law. She milks the goats every morning at 7 AM for six months of the year. When they have been impregnated they stop producing milk so as of later this month she will get a six month milking break.
In my defence, goats get to know their milker so they feel relaxed with Stavroula. Her son Iannis said that when he tried to milk them they kicked up a fuss. And so that is my first excuse for what follows. But Stavroula makes it look very simple.
And here is Stavroula in video action.
What follows is me in action. Hmmmmm. I do not think that I shall ever be the goat milking champion of Greece.
When do don't know a goat well it is hard to know how hard to squeeze. As you can see Stavroula has a form grip. I found it all a bit tricky to guage. But... as you can see I did manage to get a bit of milk into the bucket. After one small scale triumph ( I did better than Iannis) I felt it better to retire and let Stavroula do the rest.
Larissa is the birthplace of Achilles and the provincial capital of Thessaly. It is a fairly sleepy town of 162,000 people which is nor rich, or certainly shouldn’t be, since the mainstay of the regional economy is small scale farming. How odd then that ownership of Porsche Cayenne’s per head of population in this town was twice the OECD average. Hmmmmm.
Welcome to the 100 sheep trick from the good old days. Each Greek farmer got a large EU grant per sheep. The EU did have to inspect the sheep but had to pre-arrange its visits with the local Mayor. There are ten farmers each owning 20 sheep. The inspector arrives and finds that farmer A has 100 sheep. The mayor takes him to a farm on the other side of town owned by farmer B where there are also 100 sheep. Back to farmer C where there are also 100 sheep and so on. The inspector is not Welsh so fails to twig that by the end of his visit he has seen the same 200 sheep five times each.
The grants are duly handed out to all ten farmers. They then employ one Albanian on peanuts to look after 200 sheep and head off in their Porsche Cayenne’s to the village square to drink coffee.
Everyone in Greece knew this was going on but no-one complained. The EU was spending other people’s money (er yours and mine) and so did not care. It was great that Greece had joined the Evil Empire which now reached from the Shetlands to within a couple of miles of Asia. Party on…
Yes I feel sorry for the Greek people and for poor Hellas. But it is worth remembering that in the good times more than a few Greeks trousered it big time and we paid for that.
An early father's day treat saw me take my delightful daughter Olivia out for breakfast in Islington. Olivia's mother (Big Nose) is a Welsh speaker and Olivia seems to be growing up as a die-hard cottage burner - she is now taking Welsh lessons herself. It will come in handly when she visits the family of Big Nose in West Wales.
And so we wander into this restaurant and Olivia sits down with her back against the wall. I sit opposite and we prepare to discuss how her recent exams went, her plans for her 12th birthday, etc, etc.
But I could not help look at the wall behind where Olivia chose to sit. For one it was the image below. I made some comment about the girlfriends of Big Nose's little brother Andrew and got a dirty look.
I write this from on-board an Easyjet flight to Berlin where I am going to the wedding of a friend of my partner. He is marrying a Kraut and I have been given a stern lesson about words and phrases I am not allowed to use. Kraut is one of them.
I have however packed my “It’s Time to Leave T-shirt” although my “I stand with Israel T-shirt” was left behind. Perhaps I should have knocked up a quick “I stand with Greece” number just for this trip. I have no football shirts. I do not plan to discuss our national sport with the Hun and I am banned from discussing theirs.
It seems as if most of my fellow passengers are on one of two stag parties and one hen party- all from Wales. I guess this is what Easyjet was created for. I am not sure that those on this trip will be taking in many of the sights of Berlin and it would have been far cheaper for 1 stag party and the hen party just to stay at Bristol airport, get blind drunk and shag each other. But they are all underway now, happily ordering a stream of expensive drinks from the staff.
The two grooms to be are both dressed up. One very large and gormless looking fellow is dressed as a fairy. The other smaller, but equally gormless, fellow is wearing a little gold number. Whatever floats their boat. I am sure they will have a great time. I just rather hope that they do so a very good distance from where we are staying.
There are worse things that a nearly 12 year old daughter could tell her Dad. Olivia has already had to broach the news to me that she supports Wales (like her mother, big nose) not Ireland. Being told that she was supporting Manchester United like her mother’s young man rather than West Ham would be a real blow. And so today comes the news that she has now been given an audio tape and will soon have a private teacher to learn Welsh.
I put it to Islington resident Olivia that this would be a very useful language to acquire for later life. To her credit, she giggled. Why she cannot stick with another really useful language she is learning which I can speak (a bit) I do not know. What is wrong with Latin?
For 24 hours I have been endeavouring to get hold of a broker note on a stock I first tipped at 14p and which is almost a quid now and which I have written about for four years. I wanted to post an update. I shall do so later today. The PR bird who looks after this account is a Ms. Kay Larsen at College Group PR. I have just had the most bizarre conversation with Kay who I tried to contact earlier but she was at lunch. Now it is 3.30 and she is back at her desk and this is bizarre. Evil thinks that Kay must be thick. I reckon that she is just on another planet. Anyhow…
Who will you be writing this for I was asked? Dunno. Probably ADVFN. Ok. I thought that was easy. But Kay drawled…
I have just done a Google search on you. Ok.
It seems that you wrote an article on my client on February 18th with a pornographic picture attached. Er… what…I checked it out and it was a picture of Ms Cheryl Cole (see above) revealing far less than is revealed on page 3 of the Sun every day. Does College Group boycott the Sun too I wonder? Er that is not pornography I stammered, it is Cheryl Cole, Britain’s most talented chanteuse. Kay disagrees. It is pornography she insisted.
Kay was not deterred. Her Google search led her to assert “And I see that you described a Welsh company as sheep shaggers.” Er not exactly, I tried to explain that IQE is based in a land where folks make jokes about sheep molestation but that I had written a full apology to the entire Welsh nation for making that link and I accept now that no-one in Wales has ever got familiar with a sheep.
Kay was not impressed. “It is not where we want to position our client” she insisted. The client, BTW, is Advanced Computer Software (ASW). Kay wants to position her client so that it is commented on by “serious financial journals” and regards my blog differently. Her “perception is otherwise”. It is all to do with the “way you position your blog.”
Okay so let’s get this straight: Kay will not co-operate with me unless I “reposition my blog” so that it follows her vision of what is “serious” with regard to the images I use and the language I use. Hmmmmm
Kay. You are a prude – screw you
I shall make a point of writing about ALL your clients anyway and including images of truly scantily clad women on a regular basis as of now so that your next Google search shows the real benefit of “positioning your client”
Note the keywords & tags on the story as it will all show up on Google. I hope that your clients and you enjoy coming up in Google searches with the words pornography and sheep shagging in the title. Get used to it.
I can obtain the information requested by bypassing you. But generally you are paid a good whack by PLCs to make the process easier not to block it simply because you choose to have an after lunch rant and impose your prudish values on the process of information dissemination.
The arrogance of a PR bird who thinks that she can determine where coverage of her clients appears or does not appear is beyond a joke. Wake up darling, have you heard of the internet? Myself and thousands of other folks can write what they want and attach whatever images they want about you or your clients. And since there is a clear reader demand for this sort of material (incidentally for many pieces far greater than in the “serious journals”) those articles will appear and will get Google traction and there is Sweet FA you can do about it.
It does not matter whether you perceive my website as serious. Thousands of investors do. They read it. Perhaps in part that is because unlike your friends the “serious financial journalists” I do not kiss PR arse.
PS Enjoy googling yourself and seeing this headline crop up – it will be there forever.
My formative rugby years were in the 1970s watching on a black and white TV screen with my Dad. Why do we support the Men in Green is asked my Dad: they always lose? Well my father and I still support the men in green. He taught me to do so as his mother had taught him and we have had a great couple of decades. But it is over. The good times have officially ended and we return to what I consider normality. That is to say a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
This season has been terrible. For the first 45 minutes against Wales we looked like world beaters. Since then it has been just dreadful. Frankly the Irish ladies team (who, I think, won their grand slam) have played with more passion and discipline and – at times – skill.
It is the end of an era. Not once have I had a chance to call Aunt Valerie (an Ulster woman) to share joy in a way that she cannot with her husband Uncle Chris, as Ireland have triumphed. Calls to my father have been sad as we wonder if those glory years – a twenty year period when Ireland were not good but great as opposed to the normal fare of brave also rans – are just over.
I am not even sure that I would describe Ireland as brave these days. Back in the 70s we would pray for the rain to poor down on Landsdowne Road. Keep it tight in the forwards and fight with passion, pray and hope. The late Moss Keane, Fergus Slattery, those were the days. In defeat those Ireland teams were brave.
And now? That the manager Declan Kidney has to go is without doubt. This has been the worst six nations in living memory and losing to both Scotland and Italy (though both sides are greatly improved) is shameful. And Brian O’Driscoll has now played his last game for Ireland. Injuries have taken their toll on his body and if he joins or even leads the Lions this summer I think sentiment will have won over reason. It should not have ended this way for a great servant of Irish rugby and, by all accounts, a good man.
I am told that there are a lot of good young players coming through. I hope so but the Irish side as it stands is quite simply not very good. It is poor. And it is not brave or disciplined either.
But as my father always says, at least Olivia will be happy. Wales have triumphed once again and my daughter’s mother (big nose) will have been screaming with joy. Deservedly so. And at least the swagger and arrogance that accompanies English rugby when it is on a roll has been destroyed today. The proud and boastful chariots have crashed. This is not chippy anti English sentiment just a comment about a certain aspect of English rugby.
But this is no consolation. For most of my adult life I have got a glimpse of what it must be like to support Chelski on their day. That is to say Ireland won games, won titles and we not only deserved to win but expected to win and to win by playing great rugby. But that era has been drawing to a close for a couple of seasons now. And now supporting Ireland is like supporting West Ham. I will never support anyone else but each season starts with a low expectation which the team I support with a passion will be almost certain to deliver on.
On March 1st my daughter Olivia ( whose mother is a Welsh speaker) tends to dress up in her National costume. And I wish her, her mother ( Big Nose) and all Welshies everywhere a very happy St David’s Day. I do not know whether it is a Bank Holiday in the land where they really can take a joke and never molest sheep. But since about 75% of Welshies live off the State it probably does not make much difference anyway.
Anyhow it is probably an excuse for you all to get pissed and utter increasingly dark words about how your coal mines and industry were all closed down by the evil Thatcher! And that the 30 years of high unemployment seen since, despite wholesale subsidies from the accursed English, is all the fault of Thatcher, the English, the Tories and not you.
Happy St David’s Day to Welshies everywhere, notably weather girl Sian Lloyd, those fine singers Shakin’ Stevens and Charlotte Church, cultural ambassador Mr Craig Bellamy and, of course Ruth Madoc from Hi de Hi.
There was no free share tip today oneonefreesharetip.com today as instead I felt the need to apolgise to an entire nation. In case you are not registered ( why not?) the piece runs.
I make a public apology to the entire people of Wales. It is indeed a heart-felt apology to you all ( my daughter Olivia included and even to her mother “big nose”). For you see it seems that I have been insensitive to the great people of the nation that brought you Max Boyce, badger fancying MP Ron Davies, weekend cottage burning and the entire Kinnock family and I want to apologise for that.
Clem Chambers and I have received an email from a sensitive and humourless Welshie called Gareth Davies He states:
“In your “One Free Share Tip” report of 17th February tipped Welsh technology hardware company I.Q.E., you referred to them as “sheep shaggers”. We Welsh have a good sense of humour and accept light –hearted “digs”, but the above phrase is not in that category and in fact is downright insulting and completely out of order. I trust that you will apologise for your remark and that such insults will not be repeated. Should I not receive a satisfactory reply, I may well take the matter further.
To Clem: I tried to get your e-mail address , but after several long, unanswered calls to 0207 0700 961, I have had to send your copy of the above e-mail by post (recorded delivery). Remarks such as the one above are often made in the media , mainly by S.E.England/London “establishment” figures. Having worked/travelled throughout Britain , I know that such hereditary, systemic, arrogant, publically- stated insolence is viewed by others outside the S.E. region with annoyance and contempt. Attitudes are hardening and in future, such insolence will not be tolerated.”
Ooooh er missus. I am threatened by Gareth, who clearly has time on his hands, that he may take the matter further and Clem now knows that this “insolence will not be tolerated.”
Clem and I are sensitive souls. I hate to think of Gareth staring up the valley looking at deserted coal mines and suffering because an Ireland supporting writer made such a comment about his fellow Celts. Poor Gareth. I am almost in tears as I write this apology for I want his soul to become less tormented. For you Gareth but also to all your wonderful countrymen and countrywomen, including family man Ryan Giggs and Ruth Madoc from Hi-de-Hi, I would like to state publicly:
I apologise for the comment. I fully accept that no-one in Wales has ever considered shagging a sheep and that nothing of the sort ever happens in the Principality. I think I got Wales confused with the Scottish borders and apologise for my basic error of geography which I shall not repeat.
I hope that Gareth will accept this apology in full and will promise not to burn down the cottage that my Aunt Lucy owns in his great land.
I trust that this puts an end to the matter as I would rather spend an eternity listening to Aled Jones records in a room full of grumbling Welshies bleating on about how the wicked Thatcher closed down all the mines, than continue this pointless correspondence any further.
Lo and behold a resurgent Wales beat the Froggies (who are now 0 from 2 but were pre tournament favourites), Scotland thrash Italy in what was meant to be the wooden spoon game and today’s match in Dublin could be the Championship decider. Although I would not rule the sheep shaggers (Welsh department) out yet.
England are, of course, the old enemy and when they arrive in Dublin full of swagger and arrogance as they do now, the desire for victory is greater than ever. And there is also the romance: in Brian O’Driscoll’s last season of six nations rugby might the men in green pull off a famous victory? If they play as they did in the first half against Wales they might win. Play as they did in the second half and there will be misery in Sheep Street, Shipston.
For I am back with my deluded lefty father and step mother. It is the former who brought me up to support “the Old Country.” For me tomorrow afternoon is a simple matter. Lunch. Then the White Bear to watch West Ham away at Villa. And shortly before 3 my father will arrive. I shall remove my West Ham hoodie to reveal an Irish shirt, we will switch bars and off we go.
My father has a dilemma. At 4 PM my step mum is preaching in Shipston Church. If Ireland are behind he will not want to watch and will head off to Church to pray for a BOD inspired comeback. If it is even Stevens he has assured my step mum that he will go to Church where he will pray earnestly for an Irish victory. So, I asked him: what if Ireland are 50 points ahead with 30 minutes to go: God vs. Pub, a chance to watch a famous victory with your son, the landlord ( also wearing green) and a bunch of miserable England supporters, or your second church service of the day? Hmmm. He admitted that would be a tough call. But it is – sadly – also an unlikely scenario.
The past few encounters between Ireland and Wales have not made my father and I terribly happy. Our parting words after each recent let down have been “at least Olivia will be happy”. The mother of my daughter Olivia is a Welsh speaker, a dyed in the wool cottage burner and I am sorry to say that she has led Olivia astray in that she also supports Wales with a passion. She kindly says that Ireland is her second team but in post match calls in recent years she has not been able to contain her glee. Ha!
Ireland were magnificent in the first half, er…less good in the second. Brian O’Driscoll was inspirational. The Old Country were deserved winners and I will be calling Olivia ( and her mother) later to discuss. I shall try not to crow with Olivia. With her mother there will be no such restraint.
I did note one English reporter on the news commenting that after England defeated the poor Scottish team that the English should have no worries about beating France to win the six nations. He seemed to assume that next week in Dublin was a given. Such is the arrogance and swagger of English rugby right now. A home win in Dublin next week would be all the sweeter for that.
Having coped with staff sickness by stepping into the breach as a super chef yet again yesterday at Real Man Pizza Company ( I turned out a totally awesome Pennette con Gamberetti e Manannan Vodka) it is off West for the weekend.
On Saturday I turn 45. And to celebrate, if that is the right word, being closer to 50 than 40 I plan to take the day off and go walking in West Wales. I might just pen a couple of pieces on the train tonight and load them up before I leave on Saturday but that is it. My first day without writing for months.
Normal service, including the Tomogrpah, returns on Sunday evening. You can of course register HERE to receive that missive.
Over and out.
Will Reading get relegated this season? Is paedophilia a national sport in Belgium? Do sheep get nervous when they cross the border into Wales? Is the Guardian a paper fit only for lighting fires with and using in the cat’s litter tray? Is the Pope a Catholic? Of course Reading (and QPR) are going down.
Both are on 10 points after 19 games. You might just be safe on 37 points. Of Reading’s remaining fixtures six are slam dunk nil pointers: Man U, Man City, Chelski, Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham away. That leaves 13 games to secure 27 points. For a side that has secured 10 points in its first 19 games that looks a very tall order – effectively Reading must win half of the 13 games and draw the other half. It just will not happen. If you are a Reading fan you might as well start checking out train times to Grim Northern Shit holes like Burnley, Blackburn and Bolton in preparation for next season.
That Reading are not good enough for the Premiership is thus a given. But West Ham has a nasty habit of losing games to weak teams when no-one expects it. You will note that Wigan are currently in the third relegation spot and we all know which side gifted Wigan its first home win of the season. But even if Reading win today they are going down.
West Ham is now on 23 points. I knew we’d lose to Everton. We always do. Win at Reading and on 26 points with QPR, Reading, Wigan and Norwich still to visit Upton park plus winnable trips to Fulham, Southampton and Villa and we really will find it hard to avoid staying up. Lose and my sense of nervousness will start to grow. 23 points plus 6 games we should win is 41 points. But we are bound to slip up somewhere and any team that loses to Reading deserves to struggle.
I have not been to an away game in years but I am travelling up the M4 to attend this one with a Reading fan. Let’s see. On paper West Ham should win but I have a bad feeling.
And that brings me to Fat Sam Allardyce. His contract is up in May. Yes, the Irons have played some blinding games (Chelski, City) but then we always do. It is always Same Old West Ham, always taking the piss. Because this season as per usual we then go and lose at Swansea, at Wigan (and also at home to Wigan in the Capital Cup) and get unimpressive draws against Stoke and Norwich. West Ham will finish in the bottom half of the league. Given who we face in the FA Cup Third Round (Man U) we will not see a cup run this year and that is after Fat Sam was given a massive transfer budget which he spent.
In League One, Paulo di Canio’s Swindon is back up to 5th. Having enjoyed cup glory this year, they will, I still believe, win promotion – they are five points off second place. That is good news for Reading fans as they get a nice M4 Derby game next season. But I stand by my view that come May, Fat Sam should be allowed to depart. And there is only one successor possible.
My weekend has been spent walking in mid Wales. I needed a break from non-stop writing. And as always I am one who tries to be aware of local cultural sensitivities and so when in Wales…do as the Welsh do.
Hence on Saturday afternoon I sat down and watched the rugby. You thought I was going to make a cheap joke about sheep? Donkeys would be more apt. I refer to both the team my daughter Olivia supports to show loyalty to her mother (Wales) and to the team I support (to show loyalty to my father) Ireland. To Ireland first.
The game against South Africa could have been won. The visitors did not really turn up until half time. But I can tale very few positives from the game. The lineout was woeful until almost half time. The scrum looked insecure and the back line just did not look as if it could break through a determined defence. I accept that there were a string of players missing through injury and that a back line which had contained O’Driscoll and Kearney might have had a lot more bite. Having said that Kearney’s stand in was not bad. As for a pack without Paul O’Connell, the less said the better. The one positive is that Ireland’s new Jackie Charlton method of recruitment might just have found us a decent tight head prop in Michael Bent.
Five straight test defeats on the trot and Ireland look in pretty poor shape. As an aside why are we now always bringing Ronan O’Gara on for the last five minutes only? It may add to his tally of test caps but what is the point. Give him 20 minutes to make a difference or just move on. I would not be retiring him but these pointless switches in the last few minutes do not make me think any more highly of the incumbent management team.
As for Wales. They too were pretty piss poor against the Argies. But I sense that this was because the Pumas just played cracking rugby (bar a few too many handling errors) with utter commitment from the start not because Wales are as hopeless as some other Celtic nations we might mention. It was a joy watching the Argies play – there were real touches of skill and a desire to win a game by actually crossing the try line rather than just kicking for goal. On the form displayed on Saturday I’d back both Wales and Argentina to defeat Ireland but think both sides would have a chance against the Springboks. Indeed, Argentina will have their chance in Ireland shortly and I rather dread the outcome. With Scotland being routed by the All Blacks today it was a pretty miserable weekend for all the Celtic nations.
I think it is best to draw a veil on the matter without going into too much gory detail. It was just poor all round.
— Tom Winnifrith
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